by Jeff Wendland || AHL On The Beat Archive
With one eye on helping his team win games in the AHL and the other on his dream of the NHL, Quad City Flames center Warren Peters would seem to have plenty to juggle.
Throw in his added duties as captain of the second youngest team in the league and one might wonder how he juggles all of it.
It’s easy. The fifth-year pro considers wearing the ‘C’ on his jersey as an honor more than a job.
"First and foremost, having the ‘C’ on my jersey means the organization and coaches here have faith in me," Peters said. "I think they have seen that my teammates are willing to follow my lead on and off the ice."
Naming Peters as his captain was an easy choice for QC coach Ryan McGill. He knew, even while Peters was starting the season in Calgary, that as soon as his leader on and off the ice returned, the letter would be his.
Peters was an assistant captain for McGill in Omaha last season.
McGill doesn’t look for his captain to be the sole voice in the locker room, but he does have certain expectations. Peters would appear to fit those qualifications quite well.
"The job is mostly as a go-between between the coaches and the players," McGill said. "The other thing I’m looking for is a guy who is committed to coming to work every day with the same attitude whether he’s going good or struggling. I don’t like to put the burden on one person to be the leader; I’d like every player on my team to be a leader in his own way.
"Warren is captain mostly because of the improvement in his play the last two years. His commitment and work ethic have made him into a legitimate call-up guy for the NHL team. The way he leads by example is something I really like."
Peters understands his role as a leader, but is also quick to point out that he can’t stand alone in the Flames’ locker room.
"Just because I have the ‘C’ doesn’t mean I’m the sole voice of this locker room," he said. "We are a team and everyone has a voice. My job is to direct them when I see there is direction needed. It’s a lot of responsibility and I understand I have to live up to it.
"On the ice, I must lead by example and be the guy who plays hard every shift and leaves everything on the ice. If I do that, then I can expect others to play the same way. Like I say, it’s not about me. We are a a team."
Peters isn’t exactly thrilled with his own play, but his coach sees rapid improvement over the last week.
He’s had a third-period goal that forced an overtime, a game-clinching short-handed goal and a key steal that led to another goal in the last week.
"I’ve gotten away from the game that kept me in Calgary to start the season," Peters said. "I’ve got to play hard, win battles and be tough on and off the puck all the time. I know that I can make my way back, but I have to play that way, with that same confidence."
Added McGill, "I sure like what he’s doing the last five games. When he first joined us, he struggled out of the gate."
Peters was in a large group of young players fighting for an NHL roster spot in training camp and won the spot based on his hard work and no-nonsense approach to the game.
While he started the season in Calgary, he knew he was destined for a stay in Quad City when the big club got healthy.
"I knew the situation and the Calgary people didn’t pull any punches," he said. "They told me not to get too comfortable because as soon as some guys healed up, I was headed here. That was fine with me because they didn’t give me that false sense of hope. It was a good feeling, but far from satisfied."
Jeff Wendland covers the Quad City Flames for QCOnline.com